Football is a fall sport.
So they say.
September in the South, however, feels a heck of a lot more like August than it does October.
Put simply: it’s just too darn hot for football right now.
The on-field temperature for Auburn/LSU last Saturday was 101 degrees.
I don’t know the temperature for Texas A&M game, but it’s Texas in September, so you reckon it was hot.
A friend remarked of the September heat in Columbia, S.C. “Imagine walking out of a refrigerator and straight inside Satan’s mouth.”
The Atlanta forecast this week is above 90 degrees almost every day. Friday cools down nicely with a high of only 89.
With September in the South hotter than two rats cookin’ chili in a wool sock, what in the world are we doing playing football?
Don’t complain about a problem unless you got a solution, son.
Here’s mine: start the college football season on the first Saturday in October.
October is hands-down the best weather month across these United States and, more importantly for college football, down South. (An upcoming Banter installment will sing the many praises of my favorite month.)
Play the 12-game schedule with four games in each of October, November and December. Instead of ending the regular season on Thanksgiving weekend, it goes right up until Christmas.
Hold conference championship games in early January and the playoffs start the following weeks.
Three months of college football bliss, in the actual fall when the sport is meant to be played, while skipping September’s swelter.
“But Banter, what about the schools up north that would have to play in frigid December and January temperatures?”
No one cares about them. They aren’t good at football. And, schools below the Mason-Dixon don’t complain about playing in 101 degrees or during the height of hurricane season. I’m doing the complaining for them.
“But Banter, what about the student-athletes who have exams in December? We can’t distract from their scholarly pursuits.”
Uh, that coveted Interdisciplinary Studies degree isn’t gonna matter to the players who make it to the NFL, and might matter less to the 85 percent of other players who will end up selling something after college.
Riding the coattails of their glorious playing days, they will tell customers about that game they hung with Alabama for a quarter, then quickly shift focus to an extended warranty discussion.
“But Banter, December is busy enough with the holidays. Adding college football to the mix will distract from the magic of the season.”
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! College football throughout December is the perfect excuse to avoid holiday crap.
I can just hear my neighbor Bob before his annual Christmas party: “Don’t worry, Banter, I’ll have the game on front and center!”
Me: “Don’t worry, Bob, there’s no way in hell I’m coming in the first place!”
“But Banter, college football all the way through January interferes with the NFL playoffs.”
And your point is . . . what? Give me games like Georgia/Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl any day over Eagles 18, Falcons 12.
Skip September’s Southern swelter. Start the season in October. An elegant, cooler solution, courtesy of SEC Banter.
Now to predicting Saturday’s key Southeastern Conference clashes:
No. 2 Georgia at Missouri: In the past, this would set up as a classic trap game for the Bulldogs. But we aren’t in the past, much to my 1980s-loving chagrin, and Kirby will have the fastest team in the SEC up to the test. Georgia 51, Missouri 21.
No. 22 Texas A&M at Alabama: A&M showed moxie in almost beating Clemson at home, but on the road against Alabama’s another story. Crimson Tide 48, Aggies 13.
No. 14 Miss. St. at Kentucky: My, how times have changed when this contest carries more conference implications than Florida at Tennessee, who also play Saturday. Banter’s upset special: Kentucky 27, Mississippi State 24.
Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter for The Times during college football season. He can be reached at SECBanter@hotmail.com.